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Our Blog: May 3, 2023

15 Ways to Encourage Movement

The shift from winter to spring (and eventually summer!) has us all feeling the pull to get outside and soak up the warm sunshine and fresh air. It’s the perfect time of year to build good habits with your family, so everyone (especially little ones) can absorb the positive benefits of a healthy lifestyle that also feels natural and fun. 

Regular physical activity helps children develop stronger bones, improve cardiorespiratory fitness, reduce anxiety, and decrease heart conditions. Children who have purposeful exercise daily are better able to manage physical and emotional challenges too. We’re hoping our tips inspire you and your child to embrace the joys of an active lifestyle. Let’s jump right into it! 

Keep it simple.

Try introducing new practices that fit into your current lifestyle. There’s no need to implement all new behaviors. Doing so may feel overwhelming. Instead, stick with one action-oriented task, such as taking a family walk with the dog after dinner. As everyone becomes comfortable, increase the frequency.

Schedule time daily. 

As parents with busy family schedules, the days can get away from us quickly. That’s why it’s important to carve out time to be active with your child. Speak with them about their favorite activities, then plan a time to complete one of them later that same day. It can be as simple as doing yoga together, jumping rope, or even setting aside time dedicated to getting the wiggles out. Try filling a jar with a list of your ideas for easy pick options.  

Embrace new habits together. 

When the whole family tries things together it can be motivating and encouraging. You are the best role model for your child. If they see you committing to new habits, they’ll want to replicate that behavior. Here’s a list of some ideas to try as you work to incorporate more movement:

  • Turn on some music and have a dance party.
  • Go on a family bike ride to the local library or park.
  • Visit the playground to swing, rock climb, or hang from the monkey bars.
  • Go for a walk to explore nearby hiking trails. If you have a dog, bring them along!
  • Make a backyard sports tournament. Try playing baseball, football, kickball, soccer, jump rope, or hula hoop.
  • Create a simple obstacle course in the backyard.
  • Rollerblade around the neighborhood (encourage other families to join in).
  • Introduce a new fitness activity. Take up tennis, go kayaking or rock climbing, try ice skating, or practice taekwondo.
  • Go for a swim and try a water sport, such as paddleboarding, surfing, water skiing, and water volleyball.
  • Embrace outdoor games, including ring toss, horseshoes, croquet, spike ball, or pickleball.
  • Declare a trampoline contest with points given for the silliest jumps.
  • Train for a common family goal, such as jogging a mile together.
  • Play outdoor mini golf.
  • Family yardwork! Children can pitch in by helping to rake leaves or tend to the garden.
  • Get active with chores. Children can race to clean up their rooms. They can also easily help with sweeping, vacuuming, or putting away laundry.

 What else would you add or try? Remember, there’s no perfect system. Just do what works best for you and your family. The joy of experiencing new things together may even lead to a new favorite activity and a greater quality of life. Try to follow the fun and you’ll naturally lead a more active lifestyle with improved mental and physical strength.